Friday, May 13, 2011

Shrimp Pad Thai

'Why would you want to make that when you can order take-out?' That was a good question, I thought, thinking that from my roof, I could probably see at least 4 places that serve up some good pad thai. But trying something unfamiliar in the kitchen is always a learning experience, most of the time fun, and usually tasty. Oh, and this recipe is super easy and super quick. 10-15 minutes for your mis en place, 10 minutes to cook. Yep, that's quicker that take-out.

Every now and then you come across that recipe that you might like to try, but it calls for some obscure ingredient, like quinoa or tamarind. Same with chervil or Pernod. Or fish sauce, an Asian staple. I've never had that in the pantry before making this pad thai, plenty happy about acquiring some. Always good to have these things when making that dish where you throw everything you have left in the pantry/fridge in the skillet, apply some heat and see what happens.

As always, the quality of your ingredients will determine the tastiness of the final product. Good quality shrimp are key, I like mine shell on and deveined, usually at the grocery store I get the frozen shrimp, of course the best option would be to hit up a good spot like the fish guy, or your favorite local fishmonger. The noodles were from Thai Kitchen, seemed to be most non-generic available. So many bright colors in the 'ethnic' aisle. And of course, use fresh limes. You're not squeezing some watery, nasty liquid from a green plastic bottle shaped like a lime, are you? Of course not. An easy way to juice cold limes from the fridge- nuke em for 45s to loosen things up.

Shrimp Pad Thai
2-3 servings

8 oz pad thai noodles or rice noodles
2 TB fish sauce
2 TB light brown sugar
1/4 C fresh lime juice, 2-3 limes worth
1 large or 2 medium serrano peppers, stemmed, thinly sliced (include seeds and ribs)
3-4 shallots, thinly sliced, bout 1C
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2" piece of fresh ginger, minced, bout 1 TB
10-12 oz shrimp, shelled and deveined, medium size
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 scallion, halved and then sliced lengthwise twice
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 TB dry roasted peanuts, lightly toasted
1/2 C bean sprouts
handful cilantro, chopped
canola or veggie oil

Add the brown sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice to a small bowl and whisk together, set aside.

Place noodles in a large bowl or pot, cover with hot water. Let loosen up for about 5-7 minutes, then drain and set aside. During this time cook the shrimp in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, using canola oil. Cook for 1 minute on each side until pink, then remove and set aside.

Turn down the heat to medium, add a bit more canola oil, then the shallots. Cook, while stirring here and there, for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for 1 minute, then toss in the noodles and mix well. Once the noodles have warmed, scrape them to one side of the skillet. Add a touch more fat, then the eggs. Stir while cooking until just set, don't break down the egg to tiny bits, chunks are okay. Add the shrimp and chopped scallion to the party, then the fish sauce mixture, cook for a couple minutes while stirring/folding to keep the egg somewhat intact. Once everything is mixed well and warmed through- plate up with tongs, top with some bean sprouts, a handful of nicely toasted peanuts, a bit of cilantro, and a couple lime wedges on the side. Top with the long, thin pieces of scallion. What to pour? An Elk Cove Pinot Gris, of course. You enjoy!

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